“To be an SOS Mother, you need to have compassion”, says Carol, an SOS Mother in Chipata, Zambia. SOS Mothers are central to all of our work. These women are what make SOS Children unique, and they're essential to children in our care growing up in a loving family.
In SOS Children's Village Chipata there are currently 12 SOS families, each headed by an SOS Mother. The children in the family treat each other as brothers and sisters, and their SOS Mother as their mum. They are now living in the Children's Village after being orphaned or abandoned, and often arrive in need of loving care and support from their SOS Mother.
SOS Mothers help children adapt to their new home
Carol heard about SOS Children when the first Village in Zambia opened in Lusaka in 2000. She was impressed by SOS Children, and decided to train as an SOS Mother after working with children as a pre-school teacher.
“I currently have seven children in my care between 1 and 7 years old,” Carol says. “When they first came to the Children's Village they were in poor health and were not well nourished. They also went through new experiences, such as flushing the toilet.”
Often, children arriving at an SOS Village have previously been living in conditions of poverty. So the excellent facilities in their new environment can take a while to get used to. SOS Mothers are important in helping children adapt to their new home. Having SOS brothers and sisters also helps children quickly feel comfortable in the SOS community.
SOS Mothers prepare balanced meals for all of their children, with the help of the SOS Medical Team. This is especially important for children who enter the Village severely malnourished. With this loving support, children living in the Villages are soon very fond of their SOS family.
SOS Mothers are like parents around the world
Twenty-four hours a day, SOS Mothers look after the children in their care. This means the same as it does for parents around the world. They feed, dress and wash their children, providing special attention when it's needed.
And like all parents, SOS Mothers have aspirations for the children in their care. Carol hopes that “my children will become well educated so they will become leaders of tomorrow.” With every child in an SOS Village receiving quality education, as well as medical care, her hopes have every chance of coming true.
SOS Mothers are supported by a whole community
Within an SOS Children's Village Carol explains that “there is a tight nit community. The SOS Mothers have a close supportive relationship with one and other and they are able to give each other moral support.” This community spirit is also seen amongst the children, who happily play with children from different SOS families and collectively welcome new children.
Each SOS Mother has two years of training, which helps them to provide excellent childcare and manage their household. For example, every SOS Mother learns to budget for her own house according to her children’s needs.
SOS Mothers also have the support of SOS Aunties. These women look after the children when an SOS Mother has much deserved time-off. The SOS Aunties have similar training to the SOS Mothers, and rotate around all of the houses while the mothers are there, so that the children become familiar with them. SOS Aunties often go on to become SOS Mothers themselves.
With SOS Mothers, children living in SOS Villages are given the loving care they need to thrive. In Chipata, since the opening of the Village a year ago, there have been many positive changes in the children. We can be sure that SOS Mothers play a huge role in their continued well-being.
Find out more about SOS Children's Village Chipata, and how you can help.